Sunday, 21 July 2019

Eclipse 02.07.19

A full eclipse was to happen over Chile, I thought that I could not miss the opportunity to see it. Where I am in Antofagasta it would only be a partial eclipse, coverage by the moon would only be 82.83%. 

Joaquin, his mum (Coty) and I travelled down to Ovalle. This is where Joaquin’s uncle lives, we would be able to stay the night and see the eclipse at 99.56%. 

First Joaquin and I took a 3 hour bus ride to Taltal. We drove through the desert, the driest desert in the world! There is nothing but some nice mountains, rocks and a lot of dust/sand to see. As we got closer to Taltal I started to see some plants like cactus as it gets misty therefore there is more moisture.

We spent the afternoon in Taltal, Joaquin spent some of his childhood here so he wanted to show me the town. We walked along the coast seeing the peirs, went to the beach and read about the history of the mining here. 

It was then time to catch our 10 hour night bus to Ovalle. It was a comfortable drive. While we were in Ovalle we got to explore the town, go to a market and rest.

2nd July

The day of the eclipse…we were all armed with our special glasses and after lunch we headed out to find the best spot to watch it from. 

We found a lovely valle where we were opposite a vineyard, planes kept flying over watching the eclipse from the sky! Glasses on watching the moon cover the sun slowly, it started at 3:22pm.


You could only look at the sun for a maximum of 3 minutes at a time, even with the glasses on as it can still damage your eyes.  Maximum eclipse for us happened at 4:38pm, it got darker and darker and colder and colder but it was amazing how light it still was even though the moon was covering over 99% of the sun.

It was strange after that point that it started to lighten up and get warmer again. The eclipse finished for us at 5:46pm. 

In the evening I got invited to watch some traditional Chilean dances. They were practicing for a show. It was interesting to watch, now I would like to learn some of these dances.

Back on a night bus back to Antofagasta. This was only supposed to take us 13 hours but there was so much traffic at La Serena because this is where the eclpise was 100% and a lot of people went there to watch it and were also traveling through the night to get home. We got delayed by about 2 hours.

Monday, 1 July 2019

A month in Chile - June 2019

Well I have had a fun packed month in Chile. First I landed in the capital, Santiago, but on the first day I went on a bus to visit Joaquin’s uncle in San Antonio. We went to visit a museum, Isla Negra, which is a house of a famous Chilean poet (Pablo Neruda). He won a Noble Prize for Literature. Then it was back to Santiago where we spent the morning visiting the city. In the afternoon I spent some time with his brother and niece’s before taking our flight up to Antofagasta. 

The coin palace - where the president works

I need to introduce you to Cheetah, she is a leaving present from my Brownie pack in England, her name is Cheetah as that was my name in the pack. They asked me to take her with me and take photos of her doing things. Monty will be happy to have a travelling buddy. 

This month I have been trying a lot of different treats and food they love to eat here and most of them contain manjar/dulce de leche; this is like carmel. My favourite is a Berlin, this is like a doughnut with manjar. I have also tried empanadas one of the locals favourite lunches. One treat is called brazo de reina – arm of the queen. I also went to a Chilean Barbecue; I tried the diaphragm of a cow, it was very delicious!

I have visited some sites in and around the city:

 The Plaza Colon, this is a clock tower that was given from the UK to Chile to celebrate 100 years of independence. It could not be taller because at the time no buildings were aloud to be taller than the Catherdal.

  The beach

  The hand of the desert

 The flea market

 Some things that are a little different here:

There are many street dogs; they are looked after by the communty who feed them but some are not in the best condition. They are mostly friendly and will walk with you down the road, I think this is because they are hoping that you will feed them. One man was playing with them and he had a pack following him while he was throwing bottles for them to fetch. You definitely have to watch out for poo where you walk though!

The houses are very different to one another as they are aloud to just bulid and add to their houses as they like. There are no building regulations and some do not look too safe either! The houses are all caged in and have bars on the windows this is for added security. There is not much recycling here and it is a little fustrating to put things in the bin which you know can be recycled. On the positive side they don’t have plastic bags at the supermarket so you must bring your own.

I have also met up with a pack of Scouts and have been joining them each week in their activities. It is interesting to find out how they run their programme here and I will be writing up more about this in other blog posts. This month they had a camp which I went along to for the day. Cheetah came along to meet them too. On the camp we played games, had a passing ceremony; where the younger ones moved up to the next pack. I cooked the dinner and we had a camp fire.  

Monday, 17 June 2019

My journey to Chile

My journey started off by boarding a train from Peterborough to London and making my way down to Gatwick airport. I am so glad that my dad joined me for this journey as I am not sure how I would of managed to carry all my luggage. I had my backpack, a suitcase and my handluggage suitcase, in total weighing over 55kg!

I boarded my plane, which took me over 13 hours, to fly to Argentina where I had to enter the counrty so I could collect my bags and check-in again for my flight to Chile. At border control they asked my where I would be staying and they seemed a little shocked when I said “I am not I am flying to Chile today.” 

Next was my flight to Chile, I tried to see the Andies as I flew over them but it was too cloudy to see the snowcaps. I landed in Santiago de Chile and found someone waiting for me; Joaquin! It was so lovely to see him after being away from him for 5 months.

We packed all my bags into a taxi and off we went to stay with his brother for the weekend.